Design for sustainability: the need for a new agenda
journal contributionposted on 01.05.2020, 10:14 by Garrath Wilson, Tracy Bhamra
Design for Sustainability is not the panacea we hoped it would be when it was first introduced in the latter part of the 20th century. Today, the health of both our environment and our societies is at a critical state, a breaking point, with piecemeal solutions offered as social-media-friendly rallying points, such as the European Parliament approved ban on single-use plastics, whilst fundamental, and arguably less ‘exciting’, issues such as loss of biodiversity, overpopulation, and climate change are shuffled to the back. It can be argued, however, that the awareness of the concept of sustainability and the need to reduce the negative human impact upon the environment and society has grown significantly and, consequently, has moved up the global agenda; this is evidenced by the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. However, it is also clear that the role of Design for Sustainability within this agenda is not providing the solutions necessary to manifest the level of change required. Traditional approaches are not working. This Special Issue of Sustainability seeks to readdress this with eight papers that push the frontier of what Design for Sustainability could be—and possibly must be—across the broad spectrum of design disciplines.